Greg ellison

Gregory C. Ellison II

Associate Professor of Transformative Leadership and Communal Care


PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2008
MDiv, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2002
BA, Emory University, 1999


(404) 727-7291


The Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Ellison II joined the Candler faculty in 2009. His teaching draws primarily from his work with the organization he founded called Fearless Dialogues, a nonprofit organization that creates unique spaces for unlikely partners to have hard, heartfelt conversations on taboo subjects like racism, classism, and community violence. 

Ellison’s research focuses on caring with marginalized populations, pastoral care as social activism, and 20th and 21st century mysticism. He is the author of Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men, and Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice and is the editor of Anchored in the Current: Discovering Howard Thurman as Educator, Activist, Guide, and Prophet.

Ellison is a board trustee of the Forum for Theological Exploration, and a member of the Society for Pastoral Theology and the American Academy of Religion. At Emory, Ellison is a member of the Task Force on Community Memory, Difference, and Reconciliation.

Ellison has twice been the recipient of Candler’s “Faculty Person of the Year” award, in 2010-2011 and 2016-2017. Also, in 2014, Ellison received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University’s most prestigious faculty teaching honor. He is an ordained Baptist minister who has served in Methodist and Presbyterian churches.


Editor, Anchored in the Current: Discovering Howard Thurman as Educator, Activist, Guide, and Prophet, Westminster John Knox Press, 2020

Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for JusticeWestminster John Knox, 2017

Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men in Today’s CultureAbingdon, 2013


“Impractical?: The Curious Life of a Scrappy Pastoral Theologian,” in The Journal of Pastoral Theology, vol. 29, no.1, 2019

“From Idea to Book: A Conversation with authors Duane Bidwell, Pamela Cooper- White, and Greg Ellison, hosted by Eileen Campbell-Reed,” in  Journal of Pastoral Theology, vol. 29, no. 1, 2019

“Holy Activist and Wholly Other: Youth, Vocation, and the Problem of Fit,” Princeton Theological Seminary Presidential Lecture, Princeton Theological Seminary Library Digital Collections, March 01, 2018

“The Paradox of Empty Cups.” in Leadership Directions from Moses: On the Way to the Promised Land, Abingdon, March 30, 2017

“Open Wide Shut: Sensing Theologically in the Midst of Chaos,” in Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy, Davies Group, September 21, 2016

“The Way It Is and the Way It Could Be: Fear, Lessness, and the Quest for Fearless Dialogues,” in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 63, no. 5, Springer US, June 07, 2014

“The Dark Night of Rage in a Culture of Nihilism: An Interdisciplinary Examination of Remembered Faces,” in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 62, no. 5, Springer US, January 30, 2013

“Navigating the Borderlands of Fantasy: Reckoning with Fantasy Aggression in a Culture of Violent Media,” in The Journal of Pastoral Theology, vol. 22, no. 2, The Society for Pastoral Theology, February 01, 2012

“Fantasy as Addition to Reality? An Exploration of Fantasy Aggression and Fantasy Aggrace-ion in Violent Media,” in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 61, no. 4, Springer US, January 21, 2012

“Intimacy Versus Isolation (Erikson’s Young Adult Stage),” in Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development, Vol. 2, Springer US, January 01, 2011

“From My Center to the Center of All Things: Hourglass Care (Take One),” in Pastoral Psychology, vol. 59, no. 6, Springer US, December 01, 2010

Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for research project “Fearing Less and Seeking Anchors: Interactive Digital Platforms to Enhance Pastoral Leadership in Uncertain Times,” 2020

Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice recognized as one of “The Best Spiritual Books of 2017” by Spirituality and Practice and Decatur Book Festival’s 2018 winner of Judy Turner Book Prize for Best Book on Community

Fearless Dialogues awarded by Atlanta Hawks as Community Organization of the Year

Fearless Dialogues: A New Movement for Justice recognized by a Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly, 2017

Invitation to join Think Tank sponsored by the Fetzer Institute to Practicing Democracy Project

Faculty Person of the Year, Candler School of Theology, 2016-2017

Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University

Research Leave Grant for First or Second Book, Louisville Institute, 2012-2013

Faculty Person of the Year, Candler School of Theology, 2010-2011

Baccalaureate Speaker, Candler School of Theology

Postdoctoral fellowship in Practical Theology and Religious Practices, Emory University, 2008-2009

Expanding Horizons Dissertation Fellow, Fund for Theological Education, 2007-2008

Scholar-in-Residence, Historic Concorde Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, 2004-2005

Doctoral Fellowship, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2003-2008

Expanding Horizons Doctoral Fellow, Fund for Theological Education, 2003-2004

Blessed are the Uninvited: Quakerism, Womanism, and the Innovative Power of Liberating Circles

Care-Full Preaching

Care of Souls, Care of World

Caring with Adolescents

Caring for Marginalized Populations

Caring with Marginalized Populations II: From Theory to Practice

Confessions ‘Round Midnight: An Integrative Examination of Augustine’s Confessions, Black Literary Figures, and Improvisational Jazz

Fearless Dialogues First Year Course

Fearless Dialogues in Church and Community

Historical and Global Perspectives of Pastoral Care and Counseling

Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling

Moral Leadership in International Context

Psychologies of Power

SELF.CARE.HOPE.: Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling

Spirituality, Silence, and Social Action

In the media

April 3, 2023

Search begins for architect and artist to design Emory’s Twin Memorials

September 17, 2021

Faithfulness with Dr. Gregory Ellison II

October 11, 2019

Gregory Ellison II: Fearlessly Encountering God and Each Other

June 11, 2019

The power of fearless dialogue

May 31, 2019

A Conversation with Author, Educator & Activist, Gregory C. Ellison, II, Ph.D.

May 25, 2019

Conversation with Gregory Ellison

May 14, 2019

Speaking the Truth in Love: Engaging in Fearless Dialogues

February 19, 2019

Gregory C. Ellison II: 'It's good to see you. Welcome to Fearless Dialogues. Are you ready for change?'

September 1, 2018

Fearless Dialogues

August 1, 2018

In the Fearless Dialogues movement, people try to truly see each other

November 13, 2017

A Picture of an Activist?

July 20, 2015

When Activism Is Worth the Risk

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